Misfinancing global health

On September 28, 2008, in Uncategorized, by Karen Grepin

In this week’s Lancet, Devi Sridhar and Rajaie Batniji from Oxford University published an article that compares the disbursements of the major global health initiatives by disease to the burden of disease (measured in both mortality and morbidity) of that particular disease. Their analysis finds what others have found: the amount of money disbursed by donors to major global health area is not proportional to the burden of disease attributed to the disease. Their main innovation over other articles is that they use disbursements rather than commitments data, and conducted extensive leg work to come up with good measures of disbursements by donor.

In addition to burden of disease, I think that the amount of DALYs that could potentially be averted given the existing output of the health sector may be a better measure of the appropriateness of aid (some diseases have a huge burden but may not be very tractable), but without having gone through the (likely tedious) exercise of calculating these measures, I am going to guess that the answer would be more or less the same, money is probably not being directed at diseases where we could have the most bang for our buck.

So why do donors give money for health? Why do they choose particular diseases over others or particular recipient countries over others? If I knew, then I would have an amazing dissertation….

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